New College Institute’s STAGS Robotics Team Awarded $32,000

March 25, 2021 ­– New College Institute’s FIRST Robotics Team known as the STAGS (Students Technologically Advancing for Greater Success) was awarded $32,000 through grants and contributions to the New College Foundation (NCF).

“These awards were made possible through the generosity of CITGO Petroleum (on behalf of Hutchens Eden-Rentz), Truist Foundation and Mid-Atlantic Broadband Corp contributing $4,000, $10,000 and $18,000, respectively,” shared Kevin DeKoninck, NCF Executive Director.

“NCI is grateful for the generosity and support of our STAGS Robotics Team,” said Karen Jackson, Interim Executive Director at NCI. “Inspiring students across diverse, rural communities to become science and technology leaders and innovators is the heart of this program, and generous investments like these will better equip the STAGS Team to realize success.”

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Corporation, a Virginia-based leader in creating unique public-private partnerships to build and operate open-access fiber networks, awarded $18,000 to the STAGS Robotics Team. “Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp (MBC) is glad to support the NCI Robotics team during a very challenging year”, said Tad Deriso, President & CEO of MBC. “Providing technical training tools and support for the teams lead to engaged students which lead to a skilled workforce, which is a critical part of our economic development and community investment priorities.”

Contributing $10,000 was Truist Foundation, which awards grants to support communities by investing in innovative nonprofits that align with four key areas of focus: leadership development, economic mobility, thriving communities and educational equity. “We are excited to help NCI’s Robotics program gain the necessary resources to have a world class program,” Jim Lull, Market President at Truist remarked, on behalf of Truist Foundation.

In addition, CITGO Petroleum, a Houston, Texas, based refiner of petroleum products with over 4,500 gasoline locations and 130 lubricant marketers, awarded $4000 on behalf of Hutchens Eden-Rentz to the NCI Robotics team. “CITGO has a rich heritage in supporting our marketer communities and specifically STEM related causes.  We wish the robotics team much success in their endeavors,” said David Ratliff, Manager at CITGO Petroleum.

These contributions will be used toward the STAGS Team purchase of two Pneumatic Troubleshooting Systems.  These systems enable the students on FIRST Team 1262 and other local teams, to learn how to find the cause of a malfunction in pneumatics – which are oftentimes a major component of the robot.

NCI FIRST Robotics Team 1262 is beginning its eighteenth year of competition. The STAGS team is comprised of high school students from Bassett High School, Magna Vista High School, Martinsville High School, and home school students. Students are mentored by engineers, programmers, retired teachers, and other STEM professionals who volunteer their time after work hours and on weekends in order to make the experience for the students as “real world” as possible.

The New College Foundation (NCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to provide financial and other support to NCI for the dissemination of education.